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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Caesars Palace not worried about adding more rooms

15 December 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Adding 668 rooms to what many analysts have called a saturated hotel market isn't worrying Caesars Palace officials.

The new rooms in the Strip resort's Octavius Tower, which open Jan. 2, allow hotel officials to charge a premium rate for both standard units and one-bedroom suites throughout the year.

"These rooms are considered upgrades from some of the other towers on the property," said Stephen Thayer, hotel operations director for Caesars Palace.

A check with the hotel's reservation department Wednesday shows a rate of $589 for a standard 550-square-foot room in Octavius Tower for Saturday, Jan. 14, and $249 on the following Sunday. Midweek rates for the same room from Jan. 24-26 run $249 to $319, depending on which day a customer checks in.

As of October, Las Vegas had an inventory of 150,425 hotel and motel rooms and suites, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The Octavius Tower will be the last new hotel tower to open on the Strip for several years, though many companies, including MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp., are remodeling various properties.

In a recent interview, Union Gaming Group principal Bill Lerner said the lack of brand-new hotel rooms and increasing visitor occupancy figures will allow Strip hotels to gradually increase average daily room rates heading into 2013.

The opening of the Octavius Tower will give Caesars Palace more than 3,960 rooms in six towers. The resort will open 16 floors and 570 rooms in the new tower during January. The remaining rooms and the tower's top three floors will open later. The resort has hired an additional 450 employees in conjunction with the addition.

Caesars Entertainment halted construction of the Octavius Tower more than three years ago when the economy tanked. The exterior and interior shells for the 19-story tower were completed, but the rooms were unfinished.

Plans to complete the tower were announced earlier this year after the company raised more than $500 million in financing for the Project Linq retail, dining and entertainment development on the Strip. A portion of that financing was used to finish Octavius.

"We had already designed the rooms, but the delay allowed us to add some upgrades and more modern touches," Thayer said.

The 550-square-foot standard rooms have either one king or two queen beds, as well as a sitting area. The sofa is L-shaped in the single-bed room. All have flat-screen televisions that allow connections to wireless devices or laptop computers, and Jacuzzi-style tubs and showers.

The tower also has 1,200-square-foot, one-bedroom suites. The top floors will include larger suites with as many as four bedrooms.

"We're very proud of the rooms," said Lacy Zappia, a VIP hotel services manager assigned to the connected Octavius and Augustus Towers, which will offer a separate front desk and lobby accessible off Flamingo Road. Guests can also check in at the hotel's main desk.

"The eventual goal is for guests in these two towers to use the Flamingo entrance," Thayer said.

Octavius Tower guests using tablet PCs or smartphones will also have access to a free application to make dinner or show reservations, order room service, submit requests to housekeeping and access other hotel services.